Ex Cathedra has performed Bach’s St Matthew Passion many times in 40 years, a Good Friday tradition; always remaining true to Bach.
This newly commissioned English translation speaks to modern audiences truly poetically, with immediacy and clarity. Bach’s largest score calls for two orchestras, two large choirs, two organists, and solo singers, creating a monumental masterpiece forever loved and revered.
Conductor Jeffrey Skidmore was the man with the skill and honour of presenting this massive work to a large appreciative audience. Text flowed with deceptive simplicity telling the well-known story with poignancy and drama, aided and abetted with many fine soloists from baroque instrumentalists to well-balanced solo singers.
On occasion mellow wooden woodwind instruments strayed from the pitch, but this rarity somewhat added to the ambience.
Vocal soloists were of fine standard, all with particular sensitivity. Tenor Jeremy Budd as the Evangelist, seemingly effortlessly communicated with clear text as did Eamonn Dougan as a truly poignant Jesus. Alto David Allsopp’s countertenor was dramatic, and awe-inspiring. Words were clear throughout, sung with expression and conviction.
Skidmore’s discreet direction brought out exceptional musicality, from truly beautiful solo instruments to clear-as-a-bell chorales exquisitely touching everyone’s soul.
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